* Right: what happened? Could it be what happened Â to Iraq’s Jews is the same as what is happening to the Christians in Iraq now? Â Aren’t they being systematically wiped out and driven out of their homes? Isn’t this the same as what happened to the Armenian Christians in Turkey? Â Or to the Christian Copts in Egypt: systematic attacks, kidnappings and forced conversions to islam, paying the jiziyah “with willing submission by being brought low”- all that Â and more: Â regular mass-killings, all the things Muslims do when the mufti tells them that they have to “defend Islam”… Â and Al Reuters tells us some crock about “sectarian warfare…”
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In just 50 years, almost a million Jews, whose communities stretch back up to 3,000 years, have been ‘ethnically cleansed’ from Arab countries. These refugees outnumber the Palestinian refugees two to one, but their narrative has all but been ignored. Unlike Palestinian refugees, they fled not war, but systematic persecution. Seen in this light, Israel, which absorbed most of these Jewish refugees, is the legitimate expression of the self-determination of an oppressed indigenous, Middle Eastern people.
This website is dedicated to preserving the memory of the near-extinct Jewish communities, which can never return to what they once were. It will attempt to pass on the stories of the Jewish refugees and their current struggle for recognition and restitution. Awareness of the injustice done to these Jews can only advance the cause of peace and reconciliation.
(Iran: once an ally of Israel, Iran is now an implacable enemy and numbers of Iranian Jews have fallen drastically from 80,000 to 20,000 since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Their plight – and that of all other communities threatened by Islamism – does therefore fall within the scope of this blog.) From Point of no return
“I was a playboy. Don’t write that!” he jokes, grinning. “How old do you think I am? Wrong. I’m 65! Don’t write that! Write that I am 55!”
His government ID proves his age, and on the back it says, unmistakably: “Religion: Jewish.”
He has made contact with a reporter, not because he wants to tell the story of his persecuted community, but because he wants to complain about the landlord who is raising his rent.
“Because we are Jewish he knows we can do nothing. He isn’t afraid because he knows we have no tribe here. Don’t use my name.”
Once one of the largest Jewish communities in the Middle East, Baghdad Jews have now nearly vanished while the country has been consumed by sectarian war.
Speaking in fluent English, the ex-accountant launches into a description of the Baghdad of his youth, one of the Muslim world’s most cosmopolitan cities.
He recites the names of legendary social clubs where Jews, Christians and Muslims mingled in better days, with music and whisky and parties that ran through the night.
“So many people — Muslim people — say if the Jewish people come back it will be nicer,” he says.
* Hehe: but the Koran says “kill every Jew” and “the Jews are the vilest of creatures” and a lot more nasty things…
His family have left. Some are in London, some in the United States. His father was offered a chance to move to Canada, but turned it down because he wanted to die and be buried in Iraq.
The ex-accountant himself stayed, but if he can sell his father’s house — now a ruin bombed out in the Iran war in the 1980s — he will finally leave.
“I want to sell the house and go. I like Iraq, but I am fed up. We had very nice times in Iraq, but now we don’t like it.”
Iraq’s Jewish community dates from biblical times. According to Charles Tripp’s History of Iraq, the country was home to 117,000 Jews in 1947.
Under Ottoman rule, well into the first half of the 20th century, Jews made up about a fifth of the population of the capital. Some of the villas in neighborhoods along the Tigris still have six-pointed stars of David in their stucco.
How many Jews are there now?Â Â Continued…
Newslinks thanks to the Gates of Vienna:
Europe and the EU
Israel and the Palestinians